The shape of the borough of Masterton changed over the years, as substantial areas of land were shuffled between county and borough. Lansdowne, now a considerable urban area, did not join the borough until 1921 being until then part of the Masterton County. It was originally intended that Lansdowne should be part of the settlement of Masterton but the sections did not sell well, and Mataikona settler John Valentine Smith bought them all. Smith, who was the second Member of Parliament for Wairarapa and also active in local politics in the early years of settlement, gave the name of ‘Lansdowne’ to his estate.
The Masterton County Council applied official names to the then existing Lansdowne streets in a special meeting held on 30 July 1904. The meeting decided to name the streets in five different classes of names: “local residents, noted commanders, native trees, numbers and noted public entertainers”.